Our study was motivated by an overarching question: Is Linked Learning viable as a public policy to increase the career readiness of high school graduates in Southern California?
To answer this question, four ancillary questions were developed that have not been addressed by previous research:
- What are the relationships between students, teachers, administrators, and employers like in a Linked Learning program?
- How do industry partnerships happen in Linked Learning programs?
- Do teachers feel like they have a meaningful voice in decisions about school policies and practices?
- Are these relationships sustainable and scalable? Or are they so cumbersome and complex that they are not able to increase the capacity of the workforce in Southern California?
Research Design and Data Collection
To determine whether Linked Learning is viable in terms of its sustainability and its ability to be brought to scale in California, a qualitative, extended case study was conducted in a school district within the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Data collection took place over a twelve-month period, beginning in November 2014 and ending in October 2015. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 administrators, pathway coordinators, and teachers, obtaining access to participants primarily through snowball sampling (Creswell, 2009).